Unclaimed veteran laid to rest at Fargo National Cemetery

Published: Oct. 27, 2020 at 7:13 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 27, 2020 at 7:32 PM CDT
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HARWOOD, N.D. (Valley News Live) -

Four years after his passing, an unclaimed veteran was finally laid to rest with military rights and honors.

Close to 100 people gathered Tuesday morning at the Fargo National Cemetery to pay tribute to the fallen hero’s service.

“We owe it to them,” Decedent Affairs Officer Alison Webster says. “To pay some honor to them."

Francis L. Kaufmann died alone at 88 in December of 2016 in a Fargo hospital.

When a local funeral home director called the Veterans Affairs office, they tracked down and verified his military records. Kaufmann served in the Marine Corps from 1946 to 1948.

“No one should ever be forgotten,” U.S. Army veteran Nicole Guderjohn says. “If that’s something that I can provide my veteran community, I feel that it’s extremely important.”

Kaufmann was buried with his wife who died before him. Veterans presented the flag to Webster who works hard to make sure soldiers like Kaufmann aren’t forgotten.

“It’s very humbling,” Webster says.

Only 50 people were allowed inside for the service because of the pandemic. Many more gathered outside the gates.

“The gratitude that I have from my community supporting what we are doing here, that’s priceless to me,” Guderjohn says.

Kaufmann is the second unclaimed veteran to be buried at the cemetery, which was dedicated last September. About 350 veterans have been laid to rest here.

Last week, unclaimed Vietnam veteran Lelan Derr was also buried at the Fargo National Cemetery in front of about 200 people. He died in December of last year.

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